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Aaaaaaaall over the place today.

I just realized this morning who Emily's kindergarten teacher looks like: Kristen Chenoweth. She's beensy, too. (Ru! Hee! It's your Broadway crush!)

So, I was going to whip out this RPS PWP, right? Right. Friday. It's turning into a pornish- YA novel, for god's sake. Which... okay, I suppose. I have such a love of "coming of age" young adult sex romps that take place in boarding schools. SO. MUCH. LOVE. (There was a cheesy For Girls series I read in junior high about a spoiled brat horsey girl who was the cause of someone's death/injury, and she covered up her Glorious Sooty Eyelashes and wore Frumpy Clothes so she could volunteer as a candy striper, thereby redeeming herself. Also, there was coal strip-mining, and that's how she got rich. Anyone? What the hell were those called?)

I am very excited about the new findings coming out on stem cell research, although I feel it's ridiculous we have to have this debate AT ALL. hahaha. I like alienating people right off the bat like that. Back to science! Let me state my positions clearly, so we can move on (either by you defriending me, or nodding your head.)

  • It's not alive unless the mother has bonded with the fetus (IMO.) I am pro-choice, obviously

  • Stem cells from gamete fusion are the best way to study and protect people already alive

  • I'm a proponent of fixing what's here already (living people)

  • This includes animal research for science. (Not makeup testing, which disgusts me.) This has nothing to do with the current topic, I'm just putting that out there.

Okay. My background is biology, especially genetics. Those of us that have been directly affected (do NOT use the word "impacted" here. That word... I do not think it means, what you think it means.) by genetic disorders in our family/friends can appreciate how wonderful it would be to find a simple solution to something like Alzheimer's. Parkinson's. Autism. And we can.

A blastocyst is eight cells. Eight cells that determine EVERYTHING a human will or will not be. That's pretty awe inspiring, if you think about it. Everything is genetic, people. It's all genes. It's all chemicals. Your personality is chemicals. Your food likes. Your hair. How often you have to clip your nails. Whether you are more susceptible for cancer, for bone breaks, for drug addiction, for success, for a healthy weight. I don't get hung up on the "moral" issues of whether we should tamper with genes. We've tampered with genes from the beginning.

What? Yeah. Animal husbandry. Plant selection. Natural selection. A physical "type" you're attracted to. It's all an attempt to control genetic material. Now, do I think people should go in and change the sex of their baby? No. Hair color? No. Eliminate Sickle-Cell Anemia in utero? Hell yes. I have a sister that is a non-verbal autistic. Now, I don't talk about her a lot, because it's a very private thing, my relationship. It's been difficult, it's been heartbreaking, and it's been incredible rewarding. What if there was a way that we could have "fixed" her? Given her a better chance at life? I had a cousin that was born with Nuerofibromatosis Type 1 (NF-1), lived a horribly painful existence until the age of four, and died a painful death. Now, the Christian sees this as a lesson from god, a way to have a better understanding of his mysteries, etc. I cannot even GO down that road, because it drives me nuts. That's a shitty god that uses a child to teach an adult a lesson.

MOVING ON. NF-1 is caused by one protein. ONE. One amino acid caused my cousin to live and die painfully. Down Syndrome is typically caused by ONE EXTRA chromosome. (usually on the 17th, 18th, or 21rst chromosome) To me, it's asinine to have a debate about the "morality" of using inert matter in petri dishes to give living beings (and future generations) a better quality of life. If you want to go the Christian route (like our President), then look at it this way: god gave man intelligence so he could do for himself. So... do for yourself.

How it works: donated eggs and sperm are joined in laboratory conditions to get to the blastocyst stage. (Quick recap of bio 101: sperm + egg, two gametes make a zygote. Zygote splits into two cells, those two split, become four, the four split and become eight. Blastocyst. This takes roughly 72 hours.) Those eight cells now contain all the information needed to make an entire human. Technically, you aren't medically considered pregnant until this mass of cells attaches itself to the endometrium in the womb. The father's genetic information doesn't even BECOME a player in the development of a fetus until several cell-divisions AFTER this point. (Something they fail to mention often in these types of debates.)

The fact that the debate about this material that is being manipulated in laboratories to create a better, healthier life for generations to come and the ethics of it boggles me. I just really don't understand it, not from a "boo, religion!" mindset, but from true bafflement. I'm pro-betterment of humanity. I'm pro-genetic manipulation of foods to increase health and longevity. I'm basically FOR ways to improve quality of life. The cells being used for stem-cell research WERE NEVER MEANT TO BE PEOPLE. They are not being robbed from good women's bodies. Men aren't being milked for sperm in their sleep. (Although I bet they wouldn't object.) These are cells (They are GAMETES, half of the genetic material required for human production!) that were frozen/stored for purposes of learning.

Basically, I just really hate George Bush. Hahahaha.

So the NEW technique goes to the eight cell stage, takes ONE of the cells, and leaves the other seven for implantation, should a woman choose in vitro fertilization. So. Nothing is "killed" or destroyed. It's also incredibly chancy, as it's not as effective as the original plan (take eight cells and manipulate the gene code with eight chances). BUT. They can't get ANY research properly done because of the "ethics" of involving potential humans. Which were never going to be humans. *sigh* So, now the scientific community is bending over backwards trying to find a way to NOT upset anyone, and Bush is back peddling now, saying "we just shouldn't involve ANY humans" instead of his original stance that it was the destruction of the embryos after testing that was the problem. *SIGH* There's more to this debate, but I'm just ranting now, and it's getting obnoxious to ME. *feels for you all at this point. All one of you who stuck this out*

I wish Americans didn't have such a Hollywood induced mindset with scientists. (IE: evil, out to control the world, no morals, no regard for life... BAH, I say.)

You know what's going to make me feel better? Some YA porn. I mean... YA stories. :)



( 104 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 24th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)
I was thinking this morning that if certain people who think that stem-cell research should be banned had someone in their family who suffered from genetic disorders - as your sister does, as my brother did - their tune might change.

Thanks for this. Very informative.
Aug. 24th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah. It's easy to sit in your house with your healthy family and say it's Wrong. Or... those who say "god" doesn't want them to change His Will. I just don't understand that AT ALL. (Do they take asprin for headaches? Get vaccines? Strange.)

*hugs you*
Aug. 24th, 2006 03:47 pm (UTC)
Damn your icon.

::wanders off singing "Put, put, the boogie in your butt..."::

::shakes fist impotently:: Damn you and your earworms!
Aug. 24th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)

Put a tiny man: in ya butt.
Put a tin can: in ya butt.

You know it feels good, when ya sing about ya butt! Boogie in ya butt!
Aug. 24th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)
YA porn is lovely and should be treasured.

And I am totally with you on the hollywood mindset of scientists, with a few exceptions and most of them are on scifi channel -- they're either bumbling, socially-retarded idiots, or they're evil masterminds.

Do you know anyone who is that stereotypical in real life? Thank you, no!

*isn't shouting at you, just kinda shouting*

It's stupid. And Bush is an ass. It's probably me being Jewish, but abortion issues aside, I have never, ever understood the mentality of sarcifice the mother to save the child. The mother should be the primary -- within reason -- concern, because the mother is here and the mother is now. I'm not saying you shouldn't try to save the child, either, or anything ludicrous like that. But the idea that the mother absolutely should be sacrificed for a potential boggles my mind.

And the fact that so many people are being sacrificed or tortured by their own bodies just because some people have political clout to close off cells that will never be fertilized anyway is just asinine.

Not that either of those things are new *throws up hands*
Aug. 24th, 2006 03:52 pm (UTC)
RIGHT: the woma is just a vessel to give the man an heir. UM, NO I AM NOT, thanks. (Which is why I love reminding men that their genetic information isn't even important until all the HARD work of organization and implantation are done.)

*hig fives you while the hands are still up* Yeah. What drives me personally the craziest is the mindset towards genetics. I mean, I love Jurassic Park but it's NOT REAL, people. It's simply not possible. (Frog DNA. Frog DNA!! Yeah. That's like the PETA people who hate geneticly altered tomatoes because they think there's FISH DNA in there. YOU CAN'T DO THAT, PEOPLE.)
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Aug. 24th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
I THINK IT WAS ABOUT CAITLYN. She rode horses? Lived with her austere and perfectly coiffed grandmother? Private school?

*puts two "g's" to YOU, rawr*
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Aug. 24th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
Did you see the news today from planned parenthood? Posted in my journal a minute ago:)...woot great news!
Aug. 24th, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
I didn't but I'm going to check it out RIGHT NOW!

Aug. 24th, 2006 04:11 pm (UTC)
I particularly don't understand why it's such a big deal to use embryos that are just going to be disposed of anyway! As long as the parents (or embryo donors) consent, it shouldn't be a big deal whether or not you can use them or not.

And even if you do hold an embryo to be equal to life, you could argue that this is the same as donating an organ. No one questions when a parent donates their child's organ after death, so why is this any different?

Meanwhile people who need the medical help are forced to suffer, over a moral quibble. It's become an issue of a life for a life, or a "life" for thousands of actual lives (or in the case of Alzheimer's, much more). And I wonder if the people doing the arguing ever really stop to consider that point.
Aug. 24th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC)
And for me, it's not fair to say "a life for a life" because the embryos were not, WILL not become life. Bah. Let's see how many of those people (ahem, Mr. "President") have people with medical needs. Or a genetic predisposition to a heartbreaking disease and choose to not have children to avoid creating a life only to die.
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Aug. 24th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
You're a woman with a brain.

Look out, Forbes magazine will come get you.
Aug. 24th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha! Did you see they've been slammed with pissed off emails from people? And have subsequently removed that article? heh. MORONS.
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Aug. 24th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
I admit I have conflicted thoughts on stem-cell research. Do I think it's something that should be done? Yes, most definitely yes. Do I also think that it could possibly create a slippery slope (damn, hate that term but it's true) wherein it's used to create the "perfect" person? Yes. Do I think that the latter is definitely going to happen and therefore, stem cell research should be banned based on possibilities? No, but I am cautious about it. There is *tremendous* possibility for good here, a mind-staggeringly amount of good, but I think fears of misuse (not based on ignorance as Ladycat mentioned above) are valid as well.

Now, the Christian sees this as a lesson from god, a way to have a better understanding of his mysteries, etc.

I hate that the moral majority of this country has allowed their religious beliefs to dictate scientific progress. Yes, as a Christian I do believe that some things (more like events or people you meet, rather than illness/death/war, etc.) happen for a reason, a reason that we may not yet know. However, I do not believe that this means all the suffering, needless or not, is for some higher reason, that it is God's will. *My* God does not desire our suffering, he does not desire for a four year old child to suffer an agonizing illness and an even more painful death. Tragic circumstances happen, yes, and sometimes good can come from the bad, but my God does not will this pain and misery on us.

Uhm, sorry. Got on my own soapbox for a moment. What I meant to say was that a person's religious beliefs can exist independently of scientific beliefs/knowledge, and one does not have to sway the other. Do I believe in the Big Bang theory? No. My belief resides in the faith that God created everything. Do I accept the scientific proof of the Big Bang theory? Yes, how can one not? So yes, I do believe in the Big Bang theory in that it is a proven, viable explanation but my personal faith and belief in the creation of the universe goes deeper than science. I don't think that those who believe in the Big Bang are wrong or misguided, not at all. I think it's possible to be both scientific *and* faithful, without one influencing the other.

In regards to stem cell research (again, sorry for the soapbox above), I think the scientific knowledge and the possible benefit for humanity should be the far heavier consideration rather than religious beliefs. Some people cannot separate their religious beliefs from scientific beliefs/knowledge and that's not always a bad thing. However, when that inability dictates what *everyone* should do/say/believe and affects the opportunities to better humanity, it's wrong and it's not something I can support.

So, all my confusing ramblings aside, although my personal opinions are somewhat conflicted about stem cell research, there is also no doubt in my mind that it is something that needs to be done.
Aug. 24th, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
But seriously, I went to one of the better schools for the life sciences (U of U, surprising, I know) and was surrounded by experts in the field of genetics at the time. NO ONE wants to make a super human. That gets tossed around so much, I really think it's a part fof the Right Wing boilerplate, and not a legitimate scientific agenda point. (See: Hollywood's degradation of people in science)

And please PLEASE know that I'm not attacking people of the Christian faith in general. Seriously. (I mean, my aunt and uncle - parents of Tia who died so painfully - saw that as a test of faith from god. I just CAN NOT stand behind that entire mindset, personally.)

Re: scientific vs. faithful. I think it's very plausible to believe in god, to believe in a higherpower of love and so forth, and accept that the bible was written by man, man who did not explore the world much beyond their own nose. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Jesus had some lovely things to say.

For me, the whole "immoral" debate over stem cell research falls along the same lines of Christian Scientists (like Jim Henson) who believe that ANY meddling is against god's will. So no vaccines, no medicine, etc. What is to be will be, that sort of thing. I say, if you DO believe in god (general you here), then you'll accept that god gave you a brain and the capacity to learn and grow.

And the Amish shouldn't have buttons on their clothes or zippers. Because that isn't from god. :)

And I'd ask you (if you feel like it) to expand your thoughts on what PRECISELY it is about the research that troubles you? There is no attack here. NONE. I honestly don't understand what the mindset is - what is (in your eyes) happening that is offensive to god, etc. They aren't making babies and killing them. I mean... is that the public's mindset? I don't understand! Help me Obi-Wan!
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Aug. 24th, 2006 04:49 pm (UTC)
Word. Word. Word. Word. to your four points. Luckily there are other places in the world that aren't as stupid when it comes to stem-cell research.

(oh and Kristen and I would make a fabulous couple for the simple fact that for once I'd be the tall one in the relationship!)
Aug. 24th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC)

I just... why don't people want to IMPROVE the quality of life?!? Jeeez.

Also: miss you. Liek woah. Am v v excited for your upcoming trip and all the goodness in your life, however! *smoooch*
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Aug. 24th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
The one topic sure to leave me seething...though not at you because I agree with you and you are pretty and smart and most of all right.

Some of us in the office were talking about this last week during a lunch meeting, and I was pleasantly surprised by some of their opinions.

I have never understood how, even if you have no clue about any of the science behind it, anyone with any level of cognitive thought could possibly think possible humans (that will never, ever, ever be humans) should be placed ahead of those that live and struggle and suffer and...yeah... *sedates self a little*

I love my grandmother, I visit her several times a week, or at least the shell that's been left behind by Alzheimer's and that is my future. I don't want that future.

*stomps foot*


*shakes pompoms for stem cell research*

I emailed a thing last night to an address of a place about a man and his muffins. Just saying.
Aug. 24th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
*criez!* Oh, man we are closing up SHOP there, and I have been so so sad about it. *clings*

What is an interesting point I like to bring up to people who poo-poo the genetic selection issue is do they not realize that nature does this? DO they realize THEY have done it in their selection of a mate/partner? They pick the healthiest vegetables and fruits when they go to the store. Farmers choose the healthiest stock to produce more fruits/veggies/cows, etc.

Also, we aren't talking about WW2 type selection and experiments here, we're talking about Salk-science. (Creator of penicillin) We're talking about medical breakthroughs at the cellular (and smaller) level to improve life. But then, most of the CHristian Coallition just want people to make babies - they don't care about the life those babies lead. They are just supposed to gain a body so they can get to the ressurection. Crazy, man.
Aug. 24th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
My head is not working today, but I am bookmarking for the stuff about the findings!

Omg, there was CAKE in the breakroom! *snarfs*
Aug. 24th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
MMMM CAKE!! Oooh, if you can remember to tell me, WHAT KIND? *lives vicariously*
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Aug. 24th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
::waves hand::

I stuck it out, Miss! I totally agree with you - and my background is English Literature. It's just so bleeding obvious. A blastocyst is no more a human being than cell scrapings from inside a cheek are.

Bush and his anti-science cronies scare me. There's the whole thing about global warming too. Just how far in denial can you get?
Aug. 24th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, the anti-science mentality of this cabinet is APPALLING. Keep in mind that my father-in-law was a part of the Space Program at NASA for almost 30 years. We are very PRO-EXPLORATION in this household.

I STILL haven't seen Al Gore's documentary. I plan on fixing that ASAP.
Aug. 24th, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC)
It's in a boarding school? *iz ded, a leetle*


I can't get it out of my head that the reason people like W are against this kind of research is just because they think it's icky. There's something distinctly that-scene-in-the-Matrix-y about it for the uninformed. And for them there's a horror and revulsion that is not only Biblical but instinctively unnatural. But if they actually HAD A CLUE? I can't help but believe that someone like W, who as idiotic as he appears, must be informed, holds this position purely to appeal to that reflexive horror, which is so much easier than an informed opinion.

In a similar vein, there definitely is a spectrum: there's the Dark Ages, and then there's Gattaca. No one wants to be at either end. So again, the instinctive, knee-jerk, uninformed opinion is to tread water, thinking that's what the Bible tells them, or that's what's natural--when the fruit they buy at the grocery store isn't natural, either.

So the NEW technique goes to the eight cell stage, takes ONE of the cells, and leaves the other seven for implantation, should a woman choose in vitro fertilization.

I hadn't heard about that. Is it on a new bill? Hopefully that's something idiots can stomach.
Aug. 24th, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC)
I think it's a private school that boards, so she would stay at home at the Grand Manor where they raise and breed horses, run a coal mining empire, and something else. Ha!

Well, I think the idea is that Life Is Precious. It's this whole Mother Mary/Virign worship that's taking over the religious right in the US, and it's WEIRD. the CHILDREN aren't precious, just their voyage TO EARTH or whatever. Because it's not like these people care for the children once they are here, you see.

I don't know if they've gotten it on the bill yet, it's still in the "reporting to the public" stage. Also, it's NOT as good as having all eight cells to manipulate. Bush has been presented with the information and he's STILL hemming and hawing. Bah.
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Aug. 24th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
I love your big, squishy science brain. And thank you for summing up the whole thing in one simple post.

The anti-science mindset of this administration blows me away. I think most people, even people who are otherwise anti-choice, honestly can't see the big deal about stem cell research and actually can "split the hair" in how this is different from this other set of beliefs they hold. It's such a minority that seem to get mixed up about this...unfortunately it's the minority in charge.

Of course, I have a very simple solution:

If people who are against stem cell research are so much against it, then I invite them to refuse any and all treatments that may evolve from stem cell research not just for themselves, but also for their spouses and children.

Let's see how hard they hold to their moral beliefs after their child becomes a parapalegic as a result of an accident and the only way to get that child walking again is to implant some new neurofibers that have been teased out of stem cells into their child's spinal cord.

Think these people would refuse? Yeah. I don't think so either.
Aug. 24th, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
Boy, does the anti-science slant kill me. Just look at the funding cuts to NASA. That was the HERO maker, you know? Gargh.

72 hours after fertilization. Man, women don't even KNOW they are pregnant at that stage. And again: you aren't TECHNICALLY pregnant until that bundle of cells attaches, so... TECHNICALLY, what they're doing in a lab isn't the same. Bah. Such splitting of hairs and for what?

It's like the pharmecists who refuse to sell RUwhatsit as ER contraception. They're just PREVENTING pregnancy. *gnashes TEETH!*

And right: they wouldn't refuse. They'll just come up with excuses why THEIR choice is special.
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Aug. 24th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)

Oh, Jesus, you have KILLED ME. Like R. Kelly at My Super Sweet Sixteen. *loves*
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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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